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  22 Sep 2021, 11:35

South Sudanese refugees homeless again after Sudan floods

   AL-JABALAIN, Sudan, Sept 22, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - South Sudanese refugee
Dawood Kour fled to Sudan to turn the page on a life of displacement, only to
be forced onto the streets once more after floodwaters submerged his rickety
shelter.

  Kour crossed the border in November, fleeing years of conflict in his home
city of Malakal -- itself prone to flooding.

  South Sudan became the world's newest independent nation in 2011, seceding
from Sudan. But in late 2013, it plunged into a devastating, five-year civil
war that it has yet to fully recover from.

  Since fleeing, Kour had lived in the Al-Qanaa camp, a growing community of
around 35,000 refugees in the Al-Jabalain district of White Nile state.

  But this month, Kour was displaced yet again as floodwaters inundated the
camp. He moved to the nearest patch of dry land he could find -- the
roadside.

  The waters rose so fast that "we had no time to collect our belongings,"
Kour told AFP. "We only carried our children."

  "We now have no food, medication or anything to fight the swarms of
mosquitoes."

  Over 288,000 residents and refugees have been affected in Sudan where heavy
rains and flash floods have hit 13 of the 18 states, according to the United
Nations.

  Humanitarian needs have swelled, and been exacerbated by the disaster in
neighbouring South Sudan too, where the deluge has affected and displaced
about 426,000 people, the UN said.

  In Sudan, thousands of refugees were relocated to different camps, while
others took shelter in villages that were spared, but many are now living on
the streets.

  "They have become homeless," said Ibrahim Mohamed, a senior official at
Sudan's refugee commission.

  "We are facing a serious challenge of finding new land to relocate them
to."

  - No food, shelter -

  Torrential rains pummel Sudan annually between June and October.

  The downpours often leave the country grappling with severe flooding that
wrecks properties, infrastructure and crops.

  Last year, Sudan declared a three-month state of emergency as flooding that
the UN has called the country's worst in a century left around 140 people
dead and 900,000 affected.

  So far this year, the floods have killed more than 80 people nationwide and
damaged or destroyed around 35,000 homes, according to Sudanese authorities.

  In the Al-Jabalain district, neither Sudanese villagers nor the refugees
were prepared for the inundation.

  "Villagers say they have not witnessed such floods in 40 years," said Anwar
Abushura, the head of Al-Qanaa camp.

  Refugees desperately built a rudimentary dirt barrier to try to protect
their shelters, Kour said.

  "But the water arrived at such a fast pace, and the flood barrier collapsed
within two days," he said.

  Many refugees had to make their way through the stagnant floodwater to
salvage building materials and belongings from the collapsed shelters.

  "We have no food or even rugs to sleep on," said refugee David Bedi, 45,
whose shelter was engulfed.

  "We just want to build roofs over our children's heads."

  - 'Little chance' -

  Aid workers have warned of a looming outbreak of diseases among the doubly
displaced refugees.

  AFP saw some people bathing in the floodwater and using it to fill drinking
containers.

  Al-Qanaa camp head Abushura said they were expecting a "medical disaster".

  Around 150 refugees from Al-Qanaa and the nearby Al-Alagaya camp, including
children, were diagnosed with malaria on Monday, according to figures
compiled by Sudan's refugee commission.

  Darquos Manuel, 32, said food had been spoilt, "mosquitoes are eating the
children and the rains continue to pour down even as we live on the streets".
"There is little chance for survival under these conditions," he said.

  At Al-Alagaya camp, where many refugees were relocated, Nagwa James pointed
to shelters that had buckled under the relentless torrents of water.

  "We fear... we will get flooded the same way Al-Qanaa did," the South
Sudanese refugee said.

  Conditions were already poor, "mosquitoes are everywhere and there are a
lot of infections", she added.

  Mohamed Ali Abuselib, head of the camp, said refugees had been moved from
low-lying areas.

  But most are in the open, he added, "and we are expecting more floods".

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